By Rashid Shirinov
As soon as the Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sarkisian took office last October, he began to generate ideas of military nature, but none of them was positively accepted by the Armenian society.
His main idea was the creation of the 'nation-army' concept. It assumed that not only those who serve in the Armenian army but the entire population of the country must be engaged in numerous programs related to army – scientific, research, industrial and others.
It seems that the Armenian President liked this strange idea, as the Armenian government launched the realization of this concept. Sargsyan has also participated in the ‘Nation-Army-2017’ conference on April 20.
At the event, the minister Sarkisian unveiled his new ideas that are clearly aimed at the militarization of the Armenian population. He proposed two programs on the military service – “I have the honor” and “It’s me.”
The first program targets for the university graduates of Armenia – they are proposed to serve in the army for three years with the rank of Lieutenant. Upon completion of the service, they will receive financial assistance for their Master’s studies. It is noteworthy that their service period will be extended for a year in this case – currently Armenians serve for two years in the army.
The second program is designed for those recruits who wish to serve on the border – that means mainly in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. In this case, they will serve same three years and will get five million drams ($10,300) at the end.
It is obvious that military service in Armenia is very unpopular and the authorities go all out to change the situation. However, the solution to the problem is quite simple. To make the service attractive, the Armenian authorities just need to provide law and order in their armed forces, so that the soldiers could finally serve in normal conditions.
The situation in the Armenian army units leave much to be desired. Soldiers of some Armenian units do not receive even the minimum of the necessary provision. The soldiers are fed with poor-quality food, while unsanitary conditions prevail in military units; contagious diseases, especially the infectious ones are wide-spread there.
In addition to these terrible conditions, the Armenian army officers often abuse their soldiers, as well as steal and sell their clothes and food. There are also many deaths of Armenian soldiers in ‘mysterious’ circumstances.
It is noteworthy that the second program that Sarkisian proposed is quite absurd. While Armenian mothers regularly gather in front of government agencies demanding to punish the killers of their sons, who died in non-combat conditions in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Sarkisian wants to attract more recruits to Nagorno-Karabakh by proposing them much money.
Thus, instead of coming to the negotiation table with Azerbaijan over the long-lasting Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Armenian government is clearly trying to militarize its nation. While the Armenians and Azerbaijanis can live in peace after resolving this conflict, the Armenian authorities try to increase the hatred of its citizens to their neighbors.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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